Favourite walks in Sicily

The island of Sicily offers beautiful countryside walks and protected coastal parks that are ideal for daytime adventure. While many visitors venture to the summit of Mt. Etna with an obligatory alpine guide, there are many other walking possibilities for the independent traveller. The best time to enjoy Sicily forays is outside of the summer months, when you can avoid the heat and crowds of the beach. Walking in Sicily offers the added pleasures of bird watching, swimming in the turquoise sea, foraging for wild asparagus, or admiring the myriad of wildflowers in spring. Vestiges of Sicily’s fascinating history can also be found, with traces of ancient Greek roads, Saracen watchtowers, Carthaginian walls, and the remains of tuna fishing ports along the coast. Inland, you may find prehistoric cave dwellings carved into the cliffs alongside mysterious tombs. With so much to see in Siciliy, walking holidays are a great way to discover this spectacular island.

  • Castelmola to Taormina

    There is a local coach service that can take you from Castelmola to Taormina, but walking down allows you to enjoy stunning views of Mt. Etna and the sea. At the parking area just below Castelmola, take the paved pathway downhill, following its steep incline to the main tarmac road. Continue downwards before turning left by the bus stop, travelling up to the Madonna della Rocca church: ensure to have a peek inside and admire how it's carved into the rock. Enjoy views over Taormina, including the Greek Theatre, before heading down the steps that zigzag along the mountainside. Cross the main road, continue downhill, and you will shortly arrive in the centre of Taormina on the pedestrian street, Corso Umberto.

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  • Vendicari Coastal Park

    Located about 45 minutes south of Syracuse, Vendicari is best visited from October to May. After exiting the dual carriageway at Noto and following the coastal road southwards towards Pachino, you’ll find the main entrance well marked. This pristine coastal reserve is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with many species of migratory birds and a flock of flamingos that are present year-round. Bring binoculars to spot heron, egrets, ducks, and marsh hawks overlooking the pantani, the lagoons where sea salt was once gathered. Walk to the ruins of the tonnara, once used during the tuna fishing season, and rest in the shade of the watchtower. This is a good flat walk for little ones, and the turquoise sea is generally calm and inviting.

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  • Ragusa Ibla

    While the town of Ragusa Ibla itself offers plenty of walking opportunities (you'll love wandering along the old staircases which connect different sections of town), a countryside walk can be had at the Cava di Misericordia; a walker’s delight. Located just ten minutes away by car – simply turn left uphill after the old train station – the “cava” is a limestone canyon with a wide gravel pathway. Prehistoric cave dwellings and old watermills dot the cliffs. If you ford the stream, you’ll find the remains of an old monastery on the opposite side of the canyon: now a meeting place for a local hiking group, it offers a great spot for a peaceful picnic.

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  • Parco dello Zingaro

    This coastal park offers spectacular trails, many of which will lead you to little coves for swimming, where you can relax in the crystal-clear sea. The park has two entrances: both charge a fee of 3 euros per person, but a map is included in the price. The quieter side is reached by car on a winding road from San Vito Lo Capo, and it's possible to do a pleasant out and back walk to a couple of lovely coves.  The path is lined with rosemary and wild thyme – it can be hot even in spring and fall, so bring sun cream and your bathing costume.  The second entrance is near the pretty village of Scopello: littered with cafes, it's good for an after-hike lemon granita, a refreshing icy treat.

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  • The Salt Flats and the Island of Mozia

    The salt flats about 20 minutes from Marsala are the starting point for a ten minute boat ride to the Island of Mozia (entrance fee.)  Windmills once used to grind the sea salt of the flats, harvesting in the heat of August; the rest of the year huge piles can be seen resting under terracotta tiles. Nearly the entire Island of Mozia is an archaeological dig; it was once a Carthaginian stronghold destroyed by Syracuse in 397 B.C., and the city was never rebuilt. Pick up a map at the museum entrance, and walk around the island’s two mile perimeter, where remains of the ancient city walls stand guard over the sea. Finds from the island are housed in the excellent museum, with one of the star attractions, the sensuous marble statue 'Young Man of Mozia', occasionally absent for international exhibitions. 

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